If you believe that Sun Devil HC Dennis Erickson is a master recruiter and talent evaluator as most do, then why-oh-why can't he see that his offense is stuck in 1st gear in a conference that only runs on overdrive? The main culprit? Senior QB Danny Sullivan.
Speed and talent abound at almost every offensive skill position, yet without a playmaker in the most important position on the field, the Ferrari will remain in the proverbial garage. Let's examine:
After a lackluster performance at Georgia, the Sun Devils came home for their first conference game against Oregon State and laid the all-too familiar egg, losing at home 28-17. The defense didn't show up to be sure, but when asked to bring the team back or at least ignite a rally, Sullivan did neither. Stats aside, when it counted Sullivan was unable to muster anything but a worthless TD pass to WR Kyle Williams with just 11 seconds left in the game. What makes this worse is that the Devils had to throw the ball 58 times (!!) due to lack of a consistent running attack (just 68 yds on the ground).
When asked after the game Erickson commented that much-hyped true freshman QB Brock Osweiler "will play" the following week against hapless Washington State. When pressed by a local reporter, Erickson was non-committal regarding Sullivan's status as the starter.
The entire Sun Devil nation held their breath in what seemed an obvious choice: get Osweiler ready for his first start in a layup game. But that's not what happened. Sullivan, instead, started the Wazoo game and again, was lackluster leading a rudderless offense to a 27-14 win. Sullivan finished 19-29 for just 190 yds with 3 INT's against perhaps the worst defense in the country, certainly the worst (by far) in the conference. Osweiler did play, albeit briefly, in the 1st quarter and was 3-4 for 21 yds.
The Devils currently rank #102 in passing in the nation, so it says here it's time for a change...now.
This week ASU is set to face a much improved Washington team in Tempe on Saturday. It's time for Erickson to man up and make the switch to Osweiler if this team has any plans of becoming bowl eligible in this transition season. With games ahead against USC, Cal and Oregon, there's little margin for error. Their talent level at the skill positions, WR's Chris McGaha, TJ Simpson and Gerrel Robinson along with RB's Ryan Bass and Cameron Marshall all have speed to burn, but only if a quality QB gives them the chance.